George Russell was another frustrated driver at the Japanese Grand Prix, having lost time with a double pit stop shortly after the race resumed.
All the participants had to wear extreme rain tires compulsorily in the resumption of the test, after the red flag. However, it was clear that the intermediates would soon be the appropriate option.
Only Nicholas Latifi and Sebastian Vettel opted to do so as soon as the green flag waved, with Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas following suit at the end of the first flying lap.
It soon became clear that intermediates were the right choice , with most drivers going into the next turn.
Russell, who was running in seventh position, got into a heated debate with his engineer about whether or not he should enter.
In the end, the Englishman obeyed the order and followed his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, on his way to pit lane . The German team’s double stop was not as quick as expected , and George lost precious seconds.
After the tire change, Russell had dropped from seventh to twelfth position , while Hamilton, on the other hand, retained his fifth place.
Russell also restarted four places behind Fernando Alonso, who went one more lap to avoid running into Esteban Ocon in the pits.
As soon as he left the pitlane, Russell made his frustration clear : “We couldn’t have made a worse decision,” he exclaimed.
From 12th position, Russell was able to climb back to ninth after making some impressive passes. However, his main goal was to keep his intermediate tires alive.
“That was the positive side, it was nice and fun,” he said of overtaking. “But it was a tire management race. It was probably the most time I had to manage tires in an F1 race. Considering it was wet, it’s quite surprising.”
“It was the culmination of two bad races for us, for various reasons. We have to review and see what happened.”
Russell had said after qualifying that he would prefer a dry race, as the lack of DRS in wet conditions would exacerbate the Mercedes’ poorer performance on the straights compared to its rivals.
“I think it’s hard for everyone,” he said. “I don’t know how the race as a whole went, but you can’t overtake with these cars without DRS. Maybe in the future you have to rethink a bit how you get that advantage when you’re one second behind.”
Asked by Motorsport.com about his frustrations with the strategy, he said: “I have to look and review it. I knew everyone was going to pit and we would lose a lot of time if we all got together, because the whole grid was queuing up.
“I think I could have done one more lap. I don’t know where Fernando was when he came out of the pits, but I was right behind him, I was faster than him, and I would have pitted in the same lap. I probably lost 10 seconds in the pit lane.”
Do you want to read our news before anyone else and for free? Follow us here on our Telegram channel and you won’t miss a thing. All the information, at your fingertips!